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The Federal Judiciary

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Presentation prepared for lectures on the Federal Judiciary for PS 101 American Government at the University of Kentucky, Spring 2007. Dr. Christopher S. Rice, instructor.

Presentation prepared for lectures on the Federal Judiciary for PS 101 American Government at the University of Kentucky, Spring 2007. Dr. Christopher S. Rice, instructor.

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  • 1. The Federal Judiciary Dr. Christopher S. Rice
  • 2. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job the Supreme Court does? A. Strongly approve B. Approve C. Disapprove D. Strongly disapprove E. Don’t know
  • 3. Judiciary Act of 1789
  • 4. “The Least Dangerous Branch”
  • 5. “Cult of the Robe”
  • 6. Trial Courts or U.S. District Courts (94)
  • 7. Appellate Courts or U.S. Courts of Appeals (13) Trial Courts or U.S. District Courts (94)
  • 8. U.S. Supreme Court (1) Appellate Courts or U.S. Courts of Appeals (13) Trial Courts or U.S. District Courts (94)
  • 9. “Specialty Courts”
  • 10. Jurisdiction A court’s authority to hear cases of a particular type.
  • 11. Becoming a federal judge  Nomination & Confirmation  Qualifications (?)  Impeachment
  • 12. Becoming a federal judge  Nomination & Confirmation  Qualifications (?)  Impeachment
  • 13. Becoming a federal judge  Nomination & Confirmation  Qualifications (?)  Impeachment
  • 14. Trial (District) Courts
  • 15. Trial courts which hear a case for the first time and make determinations of fact, law, and who wins, are known as: A. appellate courts. B. entry level courts. C. primary courts. D. courts of original jurisdiction.
  • 16. Original Jurisdiction the authority to be the first court to hear a case.
  • 17. Criminal Law Deals with offenses against society as a whole.
  • 18. Civil Law Regulates obligations between individuals, individuals and government, & individuals and corporations.
  • 19. Grand Juries
  • 20. Appellate Courts
  • 21. Appellate Courts vs. Trial Courts Appellate courts do not hear new cases,  just cases on appeal from federal trial courts.
  • 22. Appellate Courts vs. Trial Courts Appellate courts do not hear new cases,  just cases on appeal from federal trial courts.  Appeals are based on legal issues rather than questions of factual material.
  • 23. Appellate Courts vs. Trial Courts Appellate courts do not hear new cases,  just cases on appeal from federal trial courts.  Appeals are based on legal issues rather than questions of factual material.  Do not accept new evidence or hear additional witnesses.
  • 24. Appellate Courts vs. Trial Courts Appellate courts do not hear new cases,  just cases on appeal from federal trial courts.  Appeals are based on legal issues rather than questions of factual material.  Do not accept new evidence or hear additional witnesses.  Restrict their review to points of law under dispute.
  • 25. TRUE or FALSE: About 95% of the cases which are appealed to the Supreme Court are turned away without any formal decision by the Court.
  • 26. Most appeals courts decisions are final.
  • 27. Appellate Court Procedure
  • 28. Precedent A judicial decision that serves as a rule for settling subsequent cases of a similar nature.
  • 29. Stare Decisis Doctrine of closely following precedent as the basis for legal reasoning.
  • 30. TRUE or FALSE: You were honestly surprised when the judge overseeing the Anna Nicole Smith trial was busted for possession.
  • 31. Supreme Court of the United States
  • 32. Supreme Court of the United States Size determined by Congress. 
  • 33. Supreme Court of the United States Size determined by Congress.   Congress determines appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court.
  • 34. Supreme Court of the United States Size determined by Congress.   Congress determines appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court.  Supreme Court decisions become most important forms of precedent on federal and constitutional questions, for all levels of jurisdiction.
  • 35. The Supreme Court exercises its right to hear a case by: A. issuing a writ of mandamus. B. notifying Congress of the list of all cases it will hear that session. C. one of the justices accepting the case. D. issuing a writ of certiorari.
  • 36. Writ of Certiorari Order from the Court to lower courts demanding that they send up a complete record of a case.
  • 37. The “Rule of Four”
  • 38. Oral Arguments
  • 39. Amicus Curiae briefs
  • 40. Written Opinions
  • 41. Majority Opinion (aka the “opinion of the court”) Statement of the legal reasoning that supports the decision of the majority of the court.
  • 42. Concurring Opinion Opinion of a justice or justices who support the majority decision but have different legal reasons for doing so.
  • 43. Dissenting Opinion The reasoning of the minority, explaining their dissent.
  • 44. A Confusion of Opinions
  • 45. Remanding to a lower court
  • 46. The judicial branch has the power to overturn acts of Congress or the president that it determines are in conflict with the Constitution. Do you think the courts should have this power of judicial review? A. Yes B. No C. Don’t know
  • 47. Judicial Review the power of the Court to rule on the constitutionality of state, federal laws and executive actions.
  • 48. Jefferson & Madison vs. Hamilton
  • 49. Marbury v. Madison (1803)